9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;
13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
15 Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:
I use the King James because I grew up with it, but I understand that it can be challenging to read at times. I looked up the meaning of some of the Old English words to help with understanding. If you use another version of the Bible, you might get a slightly different take on this.
- Equity: evenness, uprightness, equity
- Discretion: purpose, discretion, device
- Froward: perverse
In any case, I think we can see a general meaning. If we walk in the commandments of Jesus, we will learn what righteousness is and how to order our lives accordingly.
This requires good judgement and a sense of justice. Jesus teaches us that we are judged by the judgments we make, and we are making judgments every day. There is no such thing as “judge not.” However, we can learn to judge more uprightly over time, and we will if we are mindful of our judgments and seek Jesus often to help us.
When the wisdom of the Lord enters our hearts and becomes a part of who we are, we find greater appreciation for knowing the things of God—especially as we know them in an intimate way through the working of the Spirit within us, changing us into the likeness of Jesus overtime.
That is our purpose. We are being transformed into new creatures. We are to “put on the divine nature.” We are being raised up into sons of God (Hebrews 2:10). All things that we go through are working towards this end, and the promises of our salvation will keep us.
If we follow the wisdom that Jesus gives us, we will find our way out of the wicked ways of this world, including wicked speech. Wicked speech does not care for the righteous ways of God. Wicked speech speaks worldly wisdom. Wicked speech brings unnecessary strife and division. Wicked speech is murderous. Wicked speech leads people towards destruction.
It is not so easy to tame the tongue, as James wrote:
2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
It can be difficult to learn the ways of the Lord and to depart from evil ways. I am thankful to know that my salvation is hinged on the mercy and grace of Jesus, not my righteousness, which is as “filthy rages.” I am also thankful to know that Jesus can change my nature, and although that often means going through challenges, He will lead the way.
By the grace of God, we do not love the paths of the wicked, although we struggle against them. We might even love certain sins, but we hate them also and the Lord understands our nature. He will help us overcome if we keep seeking Him.
It is a gift of the Lord that we should delight in doing what is right. Many people love doing wickedness, speaking wickedness, and every evil way. It is a blessing to see the wisdom of the Lord that can bring us out of the ways of darkness. We should be thankful and attentive to these things, to the best of our ability, and continue seeking Jesus to help us grow stronger in the Spirit.
Today I will be thinking about righteous judgment, taming my tongue, and thanking Jesus for dealing mercifully and patiently with us. I will be thinking about how I can do a better job of extending mercy and patience towards others.